UPND Mazabuka Central member of parliament Garry Nkombo has written to Speaker of the National Assembly Dr Patrick Matibini on justice minister Given Lubinda’s continued utterances in the media on the Constitution Amendment Bill 10.
In a letter dated May 22, 2020, Nkombo stated that the continued statement by Lubinda and others on Bill 10 while the House was awaiting a ruling from Dr Matibini on the way forward on the matter was a breach of parliamentary privilege.
“I write to officially lay a complaint before you, Mr Speaker, against Honourable Given Lubinda, the Honourable Member of Parliament for Kabwata Constituency and Minister of Justice, regarding his utterance as quoted in the public media regarding National Assembly Bill number 10 (Bill 10) despite there being a pending ruling over the same. Mr Speaker, you will recall that before the house adjourned sine die on 18th March, 2020, I had raised a point of order regarding the continued debate by the House of Bill 10 in the face of court proceedings that have been commenced in the Constitutional Court which relate to one of the provisions which is subject of Bill 10,” Nkombo stated.
“On that occasion sir, you retired to consider the matters raised in my point of order before returning to adjourn the House Sin die without delivering any ruling on my said point of order. In that regard, your ruling Mr Speaker is still pending and as such, parliamentary practice and privilege demadns that all members of the House desist from discussing, debating or otherwise making any innuendos in relation to the matters subject of the pending ruling aforementioned.”
He added that the continued comments by Lubinda that Bill 10 debate proceedings would continue once Parliament resumes were prejudicial to the proceedings of Parliament.
“It has thus come to me with a sense of deep concern that the Honourable Minister, Mr Lubinda, has issued and continues to issue running commentary on the continued debate of Bill 10 which he claims will continue once the House resumes sitting notwithstanding the pending ruling,” Nkombo added.
“I note in particular comments attributed to the Honourable Minister in the News Diggers! Newspaper edition No 681 of 7th May, 2020, also enclosed herewith, in which he was quoted as saying debate on the bill will continue once the sitting of the House resumes, thereby preempting and undermining your ruling on the issue. In my considered view, the utterances by Honourable Lubinda, if correctly reported by the said newspaper, are prejudicial to the proceedings of the House and are intentionally disrespectful of you, Mr Speaker, given the aforementioned circumstances. To this end, I write to seek redress against Hon Lubinda pursuant to sections 10 and 28 of the National Assembly (powers and Privileges) Act Chapter 12 of the Laws of Zambia as amended by the Act No. 13 of 2016. ”
He further asked Dr Matibini to direct members of parliaments to desist from making running commentaries on the process of enactment of Bill 10.
“I further seek indulgence, sir, that you direct all other persons, be they members of parliament or otherwise, to desist from making running commentaries on the process of enactment of Bill 10 pending delivery of your ruling on the point of order raised as allowing them to do so has the potential to demean the processes of this august House. I look forward to your further guidance on the subject matter of this letter and indeed on the point of order raised once parliament resumes sitting on 9th June, 2020 as announced by the Clerk of the National Assembly recently,” stated Nkombo.